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Rain for the Earth (Part I)

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Rain for the Earth (Part I)

Published 1937

Drought in the Dust Bowl and efforts to combat it.

Run time 9:52
Producer U.S. Federal Works Agency, Work Projects Administration
Sponsor U.S. Federal Works Agency, Work Projects Administration
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Contents. Social and economic wastes resulting from continued drought in the midwestern dust bowl and efforts of the federal government in attempting to remedy such conditions.

Several views indicate the condition of the land from which much of the moisture has gone. The commentator cites the cactus plant as having learned an important conservation lesson, "In time of rain prepare for drought." There follow several views of deserted farms, scattered tufts of scrawny wheat, empty barns, abandoned machinery, and battered windmills. Accompanying views of cattle, the commentator describes their urgent need for water. Grasshoppers and crickets obtain scant meals from the withered stalks of wheat and corn. Several herds of cattle are hauled away from the region by rail because of a lack of forage. The commentator says that the drought problem is regarded as being of importance to the entire nation. The importance of water for drinking purposes is illustrated by views of one well that serves an entire community. Water is doled out and counted by the bucketful.

The next sequence deals with efforts to remedy drought conditions. New wells are dug and old ones deepened, and reservoirs impound water. The commentator emphasizes the fact that drought in one area is the concern of the entire nation. Federal assistance is rendered by WPA employees who care for children in nursery schools and examine them as a precaution against diseases resulting from dust, lack of water, and undernourishment. Stricken farmers are given employment in road construction. Views of contour plowing are accompanied by the commentator's description of its importance in conserving both soil and water. There are several views of Fort Peck Dam in Montana.

Appraisal. Reported excellent for (1) presenting the problems of the dust bowl area of the United States, (2) showing the efforts made by the people of the drought area and the government, particularly through the Work Projects Administration (formerly Works Progress Administration), to remedy conditions by water conservation. Found useful in emphasizing the social, economic, and political interdependence of the various sections of the United States.

Teachers commented favorably on the film's dramatic treatment of the subject. Vividly shown were the desolation caused by the drought and the constructive efforts of the WPA to rehabilitate the land and the people. Student reports indicated that positive attitudes toward soil reclamation were developed by the film.

Photography and sound are good.
¥ 1:24:43- 1:33:03
Two beautiful images of fences and wide sky in the dusty Great Plains. The first shows a rusty, old fence with a large gap in it (through which we have a view of the sky, clouds and some of the flat, dry land). Cut to a low angle shot of a sturdier fence (wooden poles and wires across them). We look up at the immense sky. Both shots are extremeÑwe feel the sense of space (and parchment) in the Plains.

worth noting: Series of short shots of dust storms along the plainsÑwe see a small house disappear behind the dust. Very Grapes of Wrath. (2:45:42)

¥ 3:44:00- 4:07:10
Cows emerge from the dust towards the cameraÑa man comes behind them struggling against the dust storm. Cut to his feet on the dusty land. Cut to a woman and little boy walking with cows away from the thick dustÑthey cover their faces with their hats and hands.

¥ 6:30:44- 6:51:10
Series of shots of herds of sheep on the flat, dry land. Start with nice overview of the sheep running forward together. Cut to a few nice images of a sheepherder leading a more tightly packed group. Cut to close-ups of the herd and then their legs as they run forward. End with a frontal view of the herd creating dust with their movement.

¥ 6:58:45- 7:16:82
Great image of a shirtless sheep herder driving (he stands to drive) a tractor through a field of grazing sheep. The vehicle carries large cans of water. We view him driving from behindÑnice perspective of the sheep moving out of the way.

¥ 9:06:30- 9:17:54
Good image of a small herd of cows being led by men on horseback through a tiny town along a wide, dusty road. A car drives next to them. Cut to nice view of the cows and men going by usÑwe see what looks like an old store or saloon and a parked car behind them.

¥ 12:10:63- 12:22:94
Large groups of men with horses plow new roads in the middle of the plains. It looks like they're going on a long journey, but the horses pull plows and men shovel. Cut to several angles of the men walking and working with the horses. The horses are covered in some type of tarp.

¥ 14:19:50- 14:33:56
Pan of men building a large damÑthe skeleton of the dam looks complete. Cut to closer shot of men laying wire at the bottom of it.



Reviewer: MrMovie - favorite - January 2, 2006
Subject: Where Is Part 2??
Only gave this one star since part 2 doesn't seem to exist.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 18, 2004
Subject: Duuuuuuust in the wiiiiind....
A pretty nice, if overembelished account of the dust bowls that hit the plains. the narrator sometimes focuses way too much on metaphoric language to get his point across. But some amazing images are shown here of dust storms, cows in the dust, kids in the dust, sheeps in the dust and so on. No lust in the dust though, dangnabit!
Reviewer: cashel - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 22, 2003
Subject: depression years in country usa
This film would serve asa valuable prelude to John steinbeck,s great novel, the grapes of wrath. It shows in excellent b.w. photography, the type of people and the country so vividly created in the novel.. A valuble historical document
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